Aniket Shah on how businesses embracing social change and sustainability will drive job growth

Innovators share ideas with WorkingNation Overheard at the Milken Institute Global Conference 2021

Addressing issues related to climate change is leading to a major investment boom and job creation, according to Aniket Shah, managing director and global head of environmental, social, and governance (ESG), and sustainability research at Jefferies.

Shah says over the next 30 years, investments could reach $100 trillion and those opportunities will require a major workforce. “It will require high-skilled workers, engineers, and technologists who are thinking about how is it that we actually construct these types of energy systems? It’ll require a lot of physical laborers, a lot of construction, and a lot of manufacturing. This is an enormous opportunity.”

WorkingNation sat down with Shah at the Milken Institute Global Conference 2021 in Beverly Hills as part of our #WorkingNationOverheard interview series. With Charting a New Course as the guiding theme, thought leaders and innovators shared ideas about the changing economy, worker development, education, tech, philanthropy, and more.

Shah warns that while more will be created, there will be also be jobs that change, requiring new skills. “There will be dislocation, like any transition. There will be people who lose out in their jobs. Part of this whole project is to figure out how do we lessen the blow for them? How do we transition that workforce in the oil and gas industry, people in the coal industry, and so on into a new form of work?”

The sustainability conversation is being driven by a confluence of factors, according to Shah. Consumers, investors, and policymakers are pushing the business community to respond to concerns about the environment and in our society. He says business leaders are embracing their call to action. “They’re saying, ‘If our customers want something different, if our investors want something different, if our regulators want something different, we need to evolve.’”

“I think that we are in a moment of transition. It’s a very complicated set of issues, and we want more and more people on board and trying to think these things through so that, frankly, tomorrow can be better than today. The only thing that is holding us back right now is our ability not to go faster. And if we change that, if we put our shoulders into it and say, ‘We want this energy transition to speed up,’ we can do that. And a lot of people will be employed as a result.”

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